Monday 1 August 2011

It's An Ultra-Marathon, Not a Marathon

It has just occurred to me that I never posted this, and given the amount of hard work that went into it that is unforgivable on my part! In April this year, I made my first foray into ultra-running by adding a 96 mile warm down run onto the end of my first ever marathon which I ran in London (I blogged it as I went, starting from here). This was all in aid of the Epilepsy Society, to help raise as much money as possible, and kind of started off as a joke that spiraled out of control! This was before I really knew anything about ultra-marathon running, or that people do stupid things like running 120 miles non-stop all of the time. As with many people, I've now been well and truly sucked into the sport...

My fantastic friends Dan, Pete, Dave and Zoe, and my wonderful long-suffering fiance (soon to be wife) Jen followed me through the night, driving from village to village and making sure I wasn't eaten by bears on my travels. Pete is an avid film-maker, and spent a lot of time filming proceedings. This is a short version of the film that he has put together, which is frankly fantastic (cinematographically speaking - the running leaves a lot to be desired!).

It was really interesting for me to see events from their point of view. I can't help but feel that they had a worse time of it than I did!

I absolutely loved doing this, and am so proud to have had such an amazing support team. We raised about £5,000 for the Epilepsy Society, which was absolutely fantastic. The generosity of people was astonishing to me. Jen and I were invited to the Epilepsy Society headquarters in Kent to visit the center and see where the money goes. It was very sobering to see the hardships that many people who suffer from epilepsy have to deal with. I suffer from epilepsy myself, but I am incredibly lucky that my fits can be controlled through medication. I was honoured to have been given an award as an Epilepsy Champion, more for the work that I had done promoting awareness for epilepsy which is unfortunately not well understood by most people (a frightening proportion of people still think that it has links with demon possession!). We left feeling humbled and like £5,000 just wasn't enough. I must run further next time...

But whilst I plan my next money-raising scheme, I am happy to just get on with running for the love of it. I have plenty to keep me occupied for the next few months (much to Jen's annoyance). This Saturday see's me nipping up to the peak district for my next event in the RunFurther series of races; The Long Tour of Bradwell. This is just a "nice short" 33 miler :)

I will also be running the High Peak 40 followed by the Grafham Water Marathon (on the same weekend), the Loch Ness Marathon (the week after my wedding...), the Great Eastern Run, the Round Rotherham Ultramarathon, the Great South Run, and the Brecon Beacons Ultramarathon. Plenty to keep me busy! I'm really looking forward to getting up to the peaks and hitting some hills. Living in Cambridge (possibly the flattest area on earth?!), hill training isn't the easiest to work into my week, so it's always fun to get some thigh blasting runs in. I'm hoping for a good time, and will put a post up about the run at the weekend. Maybe see you there!

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